Yehoshua Fifteen: Judah

Caleb has been taken care of, and now we hear about the tribal allotment to the rest of Judah. Judah is the largest tribe, and so the amount of land given to it is relatively huge. A lot of detail goes into determining the exact boundaries, but suffice it to say Judah gets most of the southern part of the territory of Israel.

“And to Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a part among the children of Judah, according to the commandment of the Lord to Joshua, even the city of Arba the father of the giants, which is Hebron (Joshua 15:13).” Now, I’m sorry, but wasn’t Caleb one of the two spies who said the inhabitants of Israel weren’t fearsome giants? And now it turns out that they are, and he has to fight them? How does this reconcile? My guess is that even if the residents of Hebron were terrifying, Caleb (and Joshua) felt brave enough and strong enough to fight them with God’s help. The other spies probably felt naturally afraid, and hesitated. I feel bad for them now, because if there really was something to fear it seems understandable to not be gung ho about going and conquering the land, and all the people were punished for that hesitation.

Regardless, Caleb drives out the giants. Then, he has a proposition. “And Caleb said, ‘He who smites Kiriath-sepher and takes it; to him will I give Achsah my daughter for a wife (Joshua 15:16).'” For some reason, Caleb, who can destroy giants, can’t conquer this town. So he outsources the task to a younger man. Othniel, his nephew, rises to the challenge, and is given Achsah. Achsah isn’t particularly thrilled with this, and subsequently asks her father for additional land because what he had initially given to her was only desert. He agrees, and one can presume that the couple lives happily ever after. We spend a lot of time hearing about each clan within Judah’s allotment. Quite honestly, it’s boring, with the only thing interesting about it being how so many of the names of these ancient people and dwellings being the names of cities and places in modern Israel today. It’s easy to see now where our origins come from, and how deep our roots in the land have grown.

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